You're in Great Shape: Understanding and Applying Shaping

Shaping behavior by reinforcing small steps toward a future goal is one of the core processes of clicker training and is the key to creative and limitless training. It is often hard for trainers to make the shift from luring, prompting, or leading animals through the desired movements to letting animals discover what works on their own. The benefits of this shift are enormous to both trainer and animal.

Shaping builds the trainer’s observation and mechanical skills, and is the foundation of teaching complex behaviors. Shaping also makes training fun for the animal and strengthens the relationship between animal and trainer. Without an understanding of shaping, trainers will not experience the full power of clicker training.

Shaping depends on good observation and timely use of the clicker as a tool for communicating a movement as it is happening. You’ll learn what shaping is—and isn’t—and how it differs from other ways of “getting behavior.” Eva and Emelie will demonstrate shaping techniques and discuss how to overcome common obstacles. If you’ve been frustrated in your attempts to try shaping, you’ll be inspired to try again.

This Session will include PowerPoint slides and videos.

Eva Bertilsson | Emelie Johnson Vegh

Eva Bertilsson has a master’s degree in behavior analysis and a passion for all things related to behavior, learning and animal welfare. She grew up with horses, rabbits, and other animals, and ventured into dog training in the early 1990s. For many years Eva spent most of her time on the agility field, earning top merits with phalènes Misty and Soya. She has always been fascinated by the processes of learning and teaching. For the past ten years, Eva has been working full time as an educator in a wide variety of settings—from puppy classes at the local dog club to husbandry training in zoological settings to seminars for teachers on the science of behavior.

Together with business partner Emelie Johnson Vegh, Eva runs their collaboration Carpe Momentum. Eva and Emelie's goal is to help people acquire knowledge and skills in science-based, modern, humane and empowering teaching strategies for the benefit of learners of all species. They teach seminars on the general principles of behavior and learning, and coach trainers in the art of structuring great training sessions regardless of the venue or the species.

“E&E” are the first TAGteach faculty members in Europe, offering consultations and workshops about applying positive-reinforcement techniques with human learners in all imaginable areas. The colleagues’ first book, Agility Right from the Start, was published by Karen Pryor Clicker Training (KPCT) in 2010. The book outlines Emelie and Eva’s philosophy and structured approach to training, making it a worthy read not only for agility enthusiasts.

Eva is also directing a Swedish regional government project aimed at improving behavior management practices in the animal-care industry, with missions ranging from teaching positive reinforcement training to high school students and their teachers, to building a Fear Free™ veterinary care community in Scandinavia.

Eva lives in the village Ljungskile, on the west coast of Sweden and north of Gothenburg, but spends much of her time traveling. Border collie Tizla makes sure Eva’s free time is filled with outdoor activities and enriching training projects.


Emelie Johnson Vegh began training dogs as a teenager, after many years of involvement with horses. Her first dog was a mixed breed that competed successfully in both agility and obedience. Emelie's first Border terrier came into her life in 1994; all together she has had three terriers. The Border terriers have been involved in agility primarily, but also in some freestyle and ground work.

In 2009, a Kelpie made an entrance into the family. With her, Emelie is working in rally obedience, obedience, and freestyle, and they also enjoy urban mushing. Emelie and her dogs have won medals at the Swedish Nationals, both as youths and as adults, with a silver team medal as the best placement.

Together with business partner Eva Bertilsson, Emelie runs their collaboration Carpe Momentum. Emelie and Eva’s goal is to help people acquire knowledge and skills in science-based, modern, humane, and empowering teaching strategies for the benefit of learners of all species. They teach seminars on the general principles of behavior and learning, and coach trainers in the art of structuring great training sessions regardless of the venue or the species.

“E&E” E&E” are the first TAGteach faculty in Europe, offering consultations and workshops about applying positive reinforcement techniques with human learners in all imaginable areas. The colleagues’ first book, Agility Right from the Start, was published by Karen Pryor Clicker Training (KPCT) in 2010. The book outlines Emelie and Eva’s philosophy and structured approach to training, making it a worthy read not only for agility enthusiasts.

Emelie lives in the very south of Sweden, in the country's third largest city, Malmö. She shares her life with her husband, two sons, a daughter, and Kelpie, Scout. In addition to dog sports, she enjoys training in general, and is very interested in sports psychology, running, multisport, and yoga. Emelie is also an author of fiction novels.